Miniature sensors have a huge impact on our lives. At every moment, every day, these small but essential technologies turn data flows into life-changing solutions.
The benefits can be huge. In recent years, sensors have made their greatest progress - they are like a spark in the engine of the Internet of Things (IoT). Hundreds of billions of sensors are now built into a huge number of objects that allow everything from sophisticated healthcare devices that remotely monitor heart rate and medication, to systems that track lost keys, turn off the oven from your smartphone or help you take care of the flowers at home.
This is only the beginning.
"The next step in this new era of metadata is to see models that no one knew existed," said Brian Rome, chief sensor engineer at TE Connectivity. "Sensors quickly take us to a place where we can collect, synthesize and understand vast amounts of data very quickly." And as smarter objects become more interconnected, a new world of possibilities will be created from larger and richer data. so that these devices can be manufactured. Researchers in a number of industries can potentially provide more accurate predictions and insights about the world around us - but only if they can gather and understand the information that passes through the sensors.
In emerging economies around the world, touch-driven technologies can promote socio-economic development and increase a country's ability to compete on the world stage. At Portland State University, researchers are working on a number of projects designed to support life in a habitable environment and to draw attention to what the lab calls the Internet of Broken Things. Their monitors are used in projects ranging from water pumps in Kenya to cooking plants in India and water filters in Indonesia. Similarly, in small farms in Vietnam, "smart farming" is used to improve production efficiency, protect crops from pests and changes in weather conditions, and to improve the quality of the crop grown. The sensors monitor irrigation levels, the amount of fertilizer and temperature fluctuations, as well as reducing costs and the risk of disease.
For many experts, these meta developments are the most exciting development in sensors. "It's easy to get excited about new developments in sensor technology, but then you'll miss the big picture," said Chris Curran, chief technologist at PricewaterhouseCoopers. "The real advantage - and the biggest challenge - will come from using the data and getting value from the information they collect. They are the keys to the kingdom. “
The purpose of each sensor is quite simple: to collect information (vibration, temperature, pressure, voltage) that can be fed into algorithms and analyzes for better real-time decision making. The more data the sensors collect, the better the real-time analysis of this information. The sensors were originally designed for large and expensive industrial platforms, such as jet engines, which help detect defective parts in products weeks before they actually break down. "Most sensor applications are in safety systems," says Steve Merck, president of transportation solutions at TE Connectivity. - Then they will find their place in other industries.
Sensor-equipped devices already generate a wealth of data. Industry experts believe that every day we create as much information as was generated from the dawn of civilization until 2003. Some experts even believe that 90% of the world's data has been generated only in the last two years. Now, more than ever, real-time analytics have become vital as data driven data continues to highlight new efficiencies in the way we work and produce goods.
Bob Bermley, managing director of Pegasus Global Holdings, a technology development company in Washington, D.C., says: "Sensors are becoming a platform on which we can build a whole range of capabilities."
Sensors are already well-established in the world of medicine, where they are used daily in many hospitals to monitor information critical to the operation of equipment and patient care. In dialysis equipment, for example, pressure and temperature sensors monitor critical parameters that help maintain patients' blood circulation.
Sensors are also part of a larger trend of moving home healthcare, in part because nearly 13 million adults live alone in the United States, according to ClearCare, a San Francisco home care software maker. Medical companies hope that these sensor-based devices will allow older people to retain their independence for longer by reducing the costs associated with professional staff. These tools can take many forms: socks that track a person's gait, devices under pillows that record how many hours someone has slept, even small stickers on the skin that measure body temperature. This critical information will be passed back to a healthcare professional who can respond if something does not look quite normal.
Such monitoring can be done on the go for everything from blood pressure to glucose levels, preventing potentially damaging or fatal events.
"The human body is now like a supercomputer, with sensor inputs everywhere." "Soon we will be able to measure the things we don't even know the body is doing. The more of them we can register and measure, the better picture we will have of the patient's health. “